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Culture & Arts

Great Greek Actress Martha Karagianni Has Died

September 18, 2022

ATHENS – Martha Karagianni, one of the most popular stars of the golden age of Greek cinema, passed away on September 18 at the age of 83.

Martha Karagianni was born on November 6, 1939 in Athens to parents of Pontic origin and grew up in Keratsini. She studied dance and from age eight began performing at the Lyric Stage participating in Loukia Sakellaropoulou’s children’s ballet (along with Eleni Prokopiou).

She made her film debut at the age of 17 in 1956 in Finos Films’ The Unknown (English title Madame X), directed by Orestis Laskos. Her theatrical debut took place in 1957 in the revue Elephants and Fleas where she met Giannis Dalianidis. Napoleon Eleftheriou had previously seen her dancing at the “Se la pen” venue and suggested she perform in the revue. Later she collaborated with the musical theater entrepreneur Vasilis Bournelis (Acropolis Theatre). She appeared on television for the first time in the series O Dromos (The Road) (1977), written until his death by Kostas Pretenderis.

Karagianni’s film career featured the brilliant musicals and comedies of Dalianidis. Their collaboration began in 1961 in the movie Ziteitai Pseftis (Liar Wanted), when she was just 22 years old. In 1963, she performed in the first Greek musical Merikoi to Protimoun Krio (Some Prefer It Cold), directed by Dalianidis. She was the director’s third choice, after Anna Fonsou refused the role and Popi Lazou was late for filming. From then on, Karagianni starred in all Dalianidis’ musicals: Kati kai na kaiei (1964), Koritsia gia filima (Girls for a kiss) (1965), Mia Kyria sta Bouzoukia (A Lady at the Bouzoukia) (1967), “Oi thalassies oi handres” (1967), and Marijuana Stop (1971).

She sang for the first time in the film Kapetanios Gia Klamata (Captain for Tears) (1960) the song San Fisa to Maistrali, but she had a big hit singing O Antras Pou Tha Pantrefto (The Man I’ll Marry) in the film Gorgones kai Magkes (Mermaids and Tough Guys) (1968) with music by Mimis Plessas and lyrics by Lefteris Papadopoulos. She also sang in the video film Mia Treli, Treli Zontohira (A Crazy, Crazy Divorcee) (1988).

Martha Karagianni, one of the most popular actresses of the golden age of Greek cinema, passed away on September 18 at the age of 83. Photo: EUROKINISSI

The film O Paras ki o Foukaras was the last she made outside of Finos because she then signed an exclusive contract with the big film company. In 1965, she appeared in the film 5,000 Lies by Giorgos Konstantinou. In 1969, she performed a dramatic role in Nikos Foskolos’ film Pethaino Kathe Ximeroma (I Die Every Morning) and a comedic role in Dinos Dimopoulos’ film I Oraia tou Kourea (The Beauty of the Barber).

Karagianni’s collaboration with Dalianidis and Kostas Voutsas began with the film To Anthropaki (The Little Man) (1969). The last film of that period is O Magkas me to Trikiklo (The Tough Guy with the Tricycle) (1972), though she returned a few years later with the film starring Giorgos Lazaridis O Podogyros (1980). Most recently, she starred in the films Pethaino gia Sena (I’m Dying for You) (2009) and Apo Erota (Love Struck) (2014).

As far as the theater is concerned, Karagianni repeatedly performed in the troupe of Georgia Vasileiadou and Vasilis Avlonitis. She appeared mainly in theatrical revues alongside well-known performers including Nikos Stavridis, Kostas Hatzichristos, Giorgos Konstantinou, Marika Nezer, Nikos Rizos, Giannis Gionakis, Kaiti Belinda, Sperantza Vrana, Rena Dor, Rena Vlahopoulou, Orestis Makris, Katerina Yioulaki, Stavros Paravas, Alekos Livaditis, Betty Moschona, Eleni Prokopiou, Vagelis Voulgaridis, Giannis Fermis, Takis Miliadis, and Sotiris Moustakas.

On television, in addition to the series The Road, Karagianni starred in the series Micromesaioi by Dalianidis, Zoi Patini by Konstantinou, and Epta Thanasimes Petheres (Seven Deadly Mothers-in-Law).

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